So, you want to spend a weekend in Whistler, BC. It’s been on the hit list for ages and you’re determined to make it happen this season, but your snowboard-bum-funds are problematically limited. Before you start writing the eulogy for your savings account, think of ways you can pinch some pennies on your trip. Lodging in the village will never be as cheap as sleeping on the outskirts of town in your Suburu, but if car camping isn’t an option then Whistler’s new Pangea Pod Hotel can help alleviate the financial burden that comes with staying just minutes away from the lifts at Whistler Blackcomb.
The Pangea Pod Hotel was created by Russell and Jelena Kling to provide cheaper overnight accommodation than Whistler Village’s standard hotels and rental units. Targeted at solo price-conscious travelers, the Pangea Pod Hotel is similar to a hostel yet feels like a major step up from one. Gone is the way of bunk beds and makeshift towel barriers. Like a hostel, Pangea’s sleeping quarters are shared rooms but each guest is given their own enclosed sleeping block—or pod—with a curtain on its entrance for privacy. The pods are outfitted with comfy, full size beds and two pillows each, personal fans, charging outlets, and lockable cubbies for small valuables. Most of the shared sleeping quarters are co-ed, but there is a women-only suite as well.
A pod for a single guest costs anywhere from $40-$100 USD, depending on when you go and which type of pod you stay in. If traveling with a significant other (or anyone you’re willing to share a bed with), you can double up in a pod for cheaper than you would be able to rent two separate pods. All the pods are very similar, but there are slight differences between the three types to choose from:
- Side-Entry Pod: The most spacious of the pods, and the easiest to get into. Side-entry into the pod with room enough for you and your luggage (so long as you didn’t overpack).
- Front-Entry Pod: The most common pod at the Pangea Pod Hotel, the front entry pod is the second biggest of the three. It’s a bit more challenging to clamber into than the side-entry pod, although once you’re in it your head is further away from the curtain that separates you from the shared room than it would be if you were in a side-entry pod, providing a feeling of more privacy from other guests. There is room for luggage at the foot of your bed in the front-entry pods.
- Mezzanine Pods: Slightly smaller than the front-entry pods, but instead of storing luggage at the foot of bed mezzanine pod guests are provided with a luggage cubby directly outside of their respective pod. This is probably the best bet for photographers with gear in tow because there is more room for lockable luggage in the cubby outside of the pod than the cubbies found within the front- and side-entry pods.
Pangea’s slogan is “Chic, Shared and Central” and they’ve successfully stomped on all three fronts. By looking around it’s evident that not only the capsule concept was drawn from Asia, but inspiration for the hotel’s art was too. With bold colors and shapes dominating the overall aesthetic, it’s as modern and trendy as it gets. The restaurant and bar area, referred to as “The Living Room,” is comprised of a handful of four-person tables as well as two long, picnic style dining tables to encourage and facilitate socializing with other guests. Climb on up to the hotel’s top floor and you’ll find the only rooftop bar and patio in all of Whistler Village, the perfect place for pre-funk and people watching.
I must admit that when it comes to the food at Pangea Pod Hotel, I’m torn. On one hand, it’s truly delicious, but in regards to the hotel’s ethos their offerings strike me as a bit too bourgeois for the target demographic. I had no problem putting down two of their $15 USD pizzas with room still for more, and I weigh around 150 pounds and hadn’t been snowboarding the day before I dined there. If you’ve got a bigger appetite—and most will after a full day of snowboarding and marijuana becoming federally legal in Canada—then having dinner at Pangea won’t exactly help you save money in the same way that its reduced lodging rates will. With reduced rates being an integral aspect of Pangea’s model in regards to lodging costs, it seems inconsistent not to have cheaper food options as well. My suggestion to the hotel would be to offer a wider range of cheaper, more filling options to serve their intended demographic, as opposed to just offering delectable yet dainty pizzas and cheese plates.
All things considered, almost any vacation in Whistler won’t be as cheap as one in a place like Turner Mountain, MT. But if hitting Whistler Blackcomb’s iconic terrain is a must, and you’re past the point in life where sleeping in your car and riding with wet everything the next day is acceptable, then the Pangea Pod Hotel is likely to be your cheapest, most viable lodging option in Whistler Village. And when you take into account that you’ll be staying just a three-minute walk away from the Excalibur Gondola, and potentially first in a long line on a classic BC powder day, the deal will only seem that much sweeter.
Special thanks to Laura Serena for facilitating the trip, and to Russell and Jelena Kling of the Pangea Pod Hotel for the warm Whistler podspitality.